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Surface Detail

Banks, Iain, 1954-2013 (Book - 2010 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Surface Detail
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When sex slave Lededje Y'breq is murdered by a politician on the planet Sichult, the artificial intelligence running one of the Culture's immense starships resurrects her so she can seek revenge. Meanwhile, the Culture is uneasily watching the conflict over whether to preserve virtual Hells for the souls of "sinners" or give them the release of death.
Authors: Banks, Iain, 1954-2013
Statement of Responsibility: Iain M. Banks
Title: Surface detail
Publisher: New York : Orbit, c2010
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
Characteristics: 627 p. ; 25 cm.
Notes: "A Culture novel"--Jacket
Summary: When sex slave Lededje Y'breq is murdered by a politician on the planet Sichult, the artificial intelligence running one of the Culture's immense starships resurrects her so she can seek revenge. Meanwhile, the Culture is uneasily watching the conflict over whether to preserve virtual Hells for the souls of "sinners" or give them the release of death.
Subject Headings: Artificial intelligence Fiction Life on other planets Fiction Revenge Fiction
Genre/Form: Science fiction
Topical Term: Artificial intelligence
Life on other planets
Revenge
LCCN: 2010932993
ISBN: 0316123412
9780316123419
0316123404
9780316123402
Branch Call Number: SCI-FI B
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Jul 09, 2014
  • GregKush rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

If you're reading other books in the Culture series, you won't want to miss this one. The story is complex and very rich, adding one of the more original ideas I've come across in some time in science fiction: virtual Hell and the concept that the Hells of different galactic races are somewhat intertwined. This is handled with more than a passing notion -- there's serious attention paid into some key characters in this virtual realm.

For this book to really have the most meaning, you're best off reading "Consider Phlebas" and "Use of Weapons" first. There's enough background from those two books to make this one feel that much richer.

Aug 01, 2012
  • monikak1 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Read about a quarter of book. Not my style. Very confusing

May 10, 2012
  • ptupper rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

After enjoying "Matter" a great deal, I didn't like Banks' follow-up Culture novel as much.

While "Matter" had several parallel plots, "Surface Detail" has a lot of tangled plots that only loosely interconnect. Banks also develops a bad habit of jumping around in time in a single scene, when there's no particular reason not to tell the scene in a linear way.

There are also some logic problems. Much of the story revolves around the concept of Hells, virtual afterlives of punishment and torment. Some activists infiltrate their society's Hell in order report back what really happens. We're later told that the Hell's real purpose to make the living behave properly from fear of punishment. If so, why is what happens in Hell kept secret?

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Banks, Iain, 1954-2013
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